Before and After: An Uninspiring White Kitchen Gets a Cheery Southwestern-Style Makeover

published Apr 12, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: kitchen with white walls and shelves above gray counter tops

Giving your house a name is a fun way to add just a bit more personality to your space once the decor complete, and it certainly shouldn’t be reserved for fancy manors or estates. Go on, give your studio, bungalow, townhouse, or loft a moniker!

Homeowner Lara Parra calls her 1920s bungalow The Little Pink Adobe, and now, she has a kitchen with pinkish terracotta finishes to help it live up to its legacy.

When she first bought the property, the kitchen was very plain-looking — and just plain awkward, layout-wise. “The kitchen was separated from the dining space by a poorly constructed wall that had been added somewhere along the way,” she says.

Overall, the cook space was in poor shape. “It had one tiny window and dark teal peeling linoleum flooring,” Lara says. Plus, there were a multiple nooks and crannies that were half-complete and once intended to be closets, water closets, or storage spaces. Of course, they’re not all that practical for any of those things if they’re not actually finished.

“It was a major deterrent when we looked at this home initially, yet I kept coming back,” Lara says. “The more I thought about what the house could be with better light and a more open flow, the more excited I became.”

In a 9-month reno, Lara and her husband renovated the kitchen as well as the rest of the house. After the demo and drywalling were handled by pros, Lara and her husband did all the DIY themselves.

With the wall behind the stove knocked down, the couple now had room to create bar seating and a free flow into the dining room, which also connects to the living room in an L shape off to the side. The removal of the wall also allowed for lots more natural light as none of the windows were sectioned off.

“I wanted the kitchen to open up,” Lara says. “I wanted to create a bright, modern southwest palette in our home that took advantage of the gorgeous light throughout the day.”

Also helping to open up the space is the glass-top door that Lara and her husband added in place of the original solid one on the kitchen’s back wall. “The farmhouse door that we added between the kitchen and the backyard allows the perfect amount of morning sunshine to spill in,” Lara says.

Now, the whole thing feels much brighter and larger — also thanks to a fresh coat of white paint (Sherwin-Williams’ Storyteller) and pops of color. Lara says she used the terracotta accent in the pass-through between her dining room and living room as color inspiration in the kitchen.

“I hoped that it, the throwback mint green fridge and stove, the mix of vintage colored glass pieces in the bar area, and the unique, hand-picked selection of vintage mugs in the kitchen would shine when they all came together,” Lara says.

She selected hex-shaped terracotta tile flooring to match, too, and bought pinkish vintage rugs for the sink and bar areas. The other tile choices in the space are a motif selection from Wayfair and a light blue-gray subway tile behind the sink.

Installing the tile was a bit trickier than Lara initially thought. “Tile fell off the wall,” during the process, she says. “We had to learn how to properly install it.”

Her counters are a butcher block choice that have held up fairly well over time but require quarterly TLC to keep them looking pristine. “In the kitchen this means we add fresh Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner and remedy any issues with a hand sander, sawdust, glue and a little work, time, and love,” Lara says. “We may seal them up eventually, but they’re so natural and beautiful that they still feel worth the effort.”

Lara loves the way all of the design elements work together to create a Southwestern-inspired space with vintage touches. “The combination of texture and color that you see from any vantage in the kitchen is lovely,” she says. “The way it all pulls together is stunning. I love being in this space.”